Monthly Archives: October 2017

Acidic oceans affecting sea life.

An eight-year study confirms that sea life will be affected by rising carbon dioxide emissions. This means that baby cod will be affected, with their numbers falling to a quarter of what they are now. Ocean acidification happens when CO2 from fossil fuels dissolves in seawater, producing carbonic acid and this will lower the ph of the water.

It is even possible that the changes could be made worse by an increase in pollution, more coastal development and over-fishing as well as climate change.

Already more than half of marines species tested react negatively to already moderate increases of CO2 concentrations. The early life stages of cod, blue mussels, starfish and sea urchins were affected. Some plants like algae may benefit from this change. More studies are planned to study the effect.

 

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Where are the flying insects?

This is not a question without dramatic consequences for us. For the past 25 years there has been a dramatic decline in flying insects according to a new study. At least in Germany. The drama in this is that no one knows if this applies to the rest of the world. I for one, as an amateur photographer can vouch that insects of all kinds this year were not plentiful and that birds were also in decline, at least in my neck of the woods.

Insects are important, both as pollinators and as prey for other wildlife. Our human societies could be seriously impacted by this. We depend on flying insects for pollination.

Even if this new data was done in reserves in Germany it has implications for all landscapes that are dominated by agriculture. The reason is simple; it is more than probable that pesticides play a role in the decline as well as the destruction of wild areas. At least it seems that climate change is not a reason for the decline.

What is even more worrying is that this study was done in protected areas in Germany, where one would think that things would be better than in areas not under protection. It is probable that when the insects leave the reserves they die due to lack of food and maybe the pesticides that are used in the surrounding areas. Studies will now be done elsewhere to see if this is really a worldwide phenomena or something that is localized and unique to Germany.

 

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A scary volcano!

Yellowstone National Park in the United States is home to a very large and famous volcano. If it ever woke up it would simply plunge earth into a volcanic winter, creating serious consequences for humanity. And now it seems that scientist have discovered that the forces that drive these events can move more rapidly than previously anticipated. Bad news for us.

Previously it was assumed that new magma entering the system would take milleniums to provoke an eruption, but in fact it could take only decades. A big time difference.

Scientists analyzed crystals that were left in the volcanic leftovers from the last eruption. Each crystal was once inside the magma underground and as they grow layers outwards they record changes in water content, temperature and pressure similar to tree rings. And the crystals recorded a clear up tick in temperature and a change in composition on a rapid time scale. I’m crossing my fingers and hope nothing happens as I type this….

 

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Flooding in Tokyo.

Because of global warming the city is more vulnerable than ever to flooding, and this despite spending billions of dollars on an underground system supposed to control those flood waters.

In the past three decades rainfall that measures more than two inches an hour has increased 30%. It seems that global warming is to blame for these intense rains in a country that is already among one of the wettest in the world.

On top of this, rising oceans makes the Tokyo area vunerable to storm surges and yet people and industries still want to settle near the waterfront. Pumping groundwater as also led parts of the city to sink by almost 15 feet in the past 100 years, thereby increasing the risk of these storm surges.

If one adds increased rainfall with the potential for destructive earthquakes and tsunamis, Tokyo is one of the riskiest city to live in. And the risk will not diminish in the future. Add to these woes the fact that the government is now heavily in debt and has an aging population one can see the financial challenges in making Tokyo secure, now and in the future.

 

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Pandas no longer in danger.

This is the good news according to Chinese scientists, that the panda is not in danger anymore. However, the natural habitat in China is in serious danger. According to researchers panda habitats have seriously declined since 1990.

The habitat of the panda has been divided into tiny sections by logging, human encroachment, road construction and agriculture. This process called fragmentation can and will have an effect on the future of the panda.

Once again, only the Chinese government can help the panda survive on a longterm basis. The government helped in the past by restoring bamboo forests and established national habitat reserves. By building corridors between panda populations and reducing the fragmentation of the habitat the government can ensure the survival of the panda, despite climate change.

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